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Training Your Retriever

Attach a 6-foot lead or cord to a scent-infused training dummy or the wing of a bird. (Freeze wings during hunting season and thaw them out when ready for training.) Use this to create “drags” of scent the dog will follow.

66

Start with 10-yard straight-line retrieves on short grass. Gradually increase the challenge: curved drag lines, taller grasses, abrupt turns, short gaps in the scent trail by lifting the dummy off the ground for a foot or two.

88

To stay on track, some dogs need reinforcement in the form of small bits of dog treats dropped along the trail. Use treats if you need to keep your dog excited, but sparingly. The point is to find the big payoff at the end of the trail, not the little goodies along the way.

55

Once your dog is trailing enthusiastically, dial up the difficulty. Run the scent trail over a log, make a sharp turn, and drag it along the log as if the wounded bird ran down the log. Run the scent trail in and out of the water along a creek or pond edge. Run it across a creek and continuing on the other side. Create longer and longer gaps.

777

To really hone a dog’s tracking skills, make a dragging pole. This is a particularly good drill for dogs that will hunt in the heavy cover of beaver ponds and thick timber. Cut a piece of PVC pipe about 5 feet long. (The diameter doesn’t matter—use whatever is cluttering up your basement.) Run a 10-foot section of parachute cord or other cordage through the pipe, and tie a slip loop to one end.

Attach the loop to a bird wing or training dummy treated with duck scent. Hold the pipe out from your body, and drag the wing or dummy along a scent trail through yard. The pipe prevents your own foot scent from contaminating the trail.

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Start Your Retriever Off Right

Here are a few helpful tips to help you do it right and get your retriever pup off to a good start:

wading
WATER
Taking your retriever pup out in a boat to the middle of a lake and throwing her overboard is not a proper water introduction. Ideally, you want the experience to be pleasant and fun.

Find a small pond with a shore that drops gradually from shallow to deep water. The weather should be mild, and the water temperature 60 degrees or warmer. Wading into the water with the pup will help alleviate any fear she may have. Bumpers and water retrieves can come later.

GUNFIRE
The worst thing you can do is to take a puppy to an open field and fire a 12-gauge over her head. That’s almost guaranteed to cause gun-shyness. Instead, recruit a friend or family member to help with this part of your pup’s training. While you handle the dog, have your training partner move a good distance away. Each time you toss a bumper, your partner should fire a shot with a starter pistol or cap gun. Be careful not to overdo it. A few shots each outing will suffice. Each day, decrease the distance between the dog and the gunfire and repeat the same drill. Keep in mind that introducing a dog to gunfire is a gradual process that shouldn’t be rushed.

gunfire
DECOYS
Don’t wait until hunting season to familiarize your dog with decoys. Incorporate them into their training exercises. Place a dozen or more decoys around a field when you’re tossing bumpers. This will help teach the dog that decoys are just part of the setup and not her main focus. Once he/she learns that, they can move on to retrieving bumpers around a decoy spread set in shallow water. This will help them learn how to swim through the decoys without getting tangled in the lines. If you hunt with motion decoys, incorporate them into your training spread as well.

BOATS The best way to acclimate a pup to watercraft is on dry land, where the boat won’t rock or tip over. Place your retriever in the boat and let her explore this unfamiliar setting. Do this several times over a period of a few days, and when the dog is comfortable in her new surroundings, launch the boat and take your pup on a cruise around the lake. Be sure to go slow and avoid rough waters. Keep the outing as pleasant as possible, with the dog sitting calmly beside you. Allowing them to run around while the boat is under way can be extremely dangerous.

BLINDS
Whether you hunt out of a permanent blind or a layout blind, your retriever should have a place of her own. Set up a dog stand or platform during your training sessions. Begin by teaching the dog to sit still on the stand. The younger the dog, the less patience they will have. But after several training sessions, they should learn to be patient and sit on the stand for extended periods of time.

blind1

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Basic Commands for Retrievers

train 1

One of the most common mistakes amateur retriever trainers make is rushing the learning process. The temptation to get a young dog out in the field as soon as possible can be hard to resist. Born with an innate retrieving drive, the pup is already raring to go. And with hunting season only months away, you may be just as eager to start running retrieving drills.

Before you jump headlong into field work, however, make sure your dog has mastered the fundamentals of obedience. Be patient and take it slow. There are no shortcuts. To be able to perform advanced tasks, a retriever must first learn to follow basic commands. Repetition and consistency are the only sure ways to build understanding and trust.

Here are a few brief commands that will help set the stage for your retriever’s future training and hunting success:

1. Here

Some trainers use the word come instead. Whatever word you use, your dog must learn that this is an unconditional command, not a request. Get a 20- or 30-foot check cord and attach one end to your pup’s collar. Hold the other end in your hand and walk several paces away from the dog. Say the command here. If the dog does not move in your direction, begin pulling him toward you with the check cord. Be firm but not rough. Repeat this exercise several times until the dog learns to come to you without hesitation. Remove the check cord and repeat the exercise again. Praise the pup when he does well to help make this lesson as much fun as possible.

2. Sit

This command can be incorporated into your pup’s feeding regimen. Hold the food bowl in one hand and say sit while pushing down on the dog’s rear end with your other hand. When the dog sits, place the bowl in front of him on the floor. The pup will quickly learn that the reward for sitting is food, which is a great motivator.

3. Stay

You can teach stay as an extension of the sit command. While the dog is sitting, hold your hand out toward him with your palm facing outward and say stay. Walk away, wait a minute, then call the pup to you. Gradually extend the length of time the dog remains in the sitting position. If the pup breaks and runs to you without being called, take him back to the spot where he was originally sitting and start the lesson over again. Never allow your dog to think that staying put is optional. He should remain in place until released.

4. Kennel

This lesson is easy. When putting your pup in his crate, simply say kennel. Once the dog learns to associate this word with entering the friendly confines of his kennel, you can use it when loading him into a vehicle, boat, dog hide, blind, and other such places. The key is to make the crate as attractive as possible from the get-go. You can do this by placing a blanket and a treat inside to entice your puppy to enter it.

5. Heel

Your retriever should be trained to walk at your pace and not drag you down the street. That’s the purpose of the heel command. Begin walking with your pup on a lead. He should always be on your left side. When he quickens his pace and pulls ahead, say heel and pull him back toward you with the lead. Repeat this lesson each time he moves ahead of you. If you stop walking, your dog should stop and sit down beside you.

6. No

This command should be used to discourage undesirable behaviors such as chewing on furniture, jumping on people, messing in the house, and similar indiscretions. Be sure to say it loudly and emphatically. Your dog should not have any doubt about what you mean when you say no.

train5

In no time you and your retriever will be working together & what a hunting team that will be!

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Training Your Retriever

Attach a 6-foot lead or cord to a scent-infused training dummy or the wing of a bird. (Freeze wings during hunting season and thaw them out when ready for training.) Use this to create “drags” of scent the dog will follow.

66

Start with 10-yard straight-line retrieves on short grass. Gradually increase the challenge: curved drag lines, taller grasses, abrupt turns, short gaps in the scent trail by lifting the dummy off the ground for a foot or two.

88

To stay on track, some dogs need reinforcement in the form of small bits of dog treats dropped along the trail. Use treats if you need to keep your dog excited, but sparingly. The point is to find the big payoff at the end of the trail, not the little goodies along the way.

55

Once your dog is trailing enthusiastically, dial up the difficulty. Run the scent trail over a log, make a sharp turn, and drag it along the log as if the wounded bird ran down the log. Run the scent trail in and out of the water along a creek or pond edge. Run it across a creek and continuing on the other side. Create longer and longer gaps.

777

To really hone a dog’s tracking skills, make a dragging pole. This is a particularly good drill for dogs that will hunt in the heavy cover of beaver ponds and thick timber. Cut a piece of PVC pipe about 5 feet long. (The diameter doesn’t matter—use whatever is cluttering up your basement.) Run a 10-foot section of parachute cord or other cordage through the pipe, and tie a slip loop to one end.

Attach the loop to a bird wing or training dummy treated with duck scent. Hold the pipe out from your body, and drag the wing or dummy along a scent trail through yard. The pipe prevents your own foot scent from contaminating the trail.

Follow our FISHING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

Start Your Retriever Off Right

Here are a few helpful tips to help you do it right and get your retriever pup off to a good start:

wading
WATER
Taking your retriever pup out in a boat to the middle of a lake and throwing her overboard is not a proper water introduction. Ideally, you want the experience to be pleasant and fun.

Find a small pond with a shore that drops gradually from shallow to deep water. The weather should be mild, and the water temperature 60 degrees or warmer. Wading into the water with the pup will help alleviate any fear she may have. Bumpers and water retrieves can come later.

GUNFIRE
The worst thing you can do is to take a puppy to an open field and fire a 12-gauge over her head. That’s almost guaranteed to cause gun-shyness. Instead, recruit a friend or family member to help with this part of your pup’s training. While you handle the dog, have your training partner move a good distance away. Each time you toss a bumper, your partner should fire a shot with a starter pistol or cap gun. Be careful not to overdo it. A few shots each outing will suffice. Each day, decrease the distance between the dog and the gunfire and repeat the same drill. Keep in mind that introducing a dog to gunfire is a gradual process that shouldn’t be rushed.

gunfire
DECOYS
Don’t wait until hunting season to familiarize your dog with decoys. Incorporate them into their training exercises. Place a dozen or more decoys around a field when you’re tossing bumpers. This will help teach the dog that decoys are just part of the setup and not her main focus. Once he/she learns that, they can move on to retrieving bumpers around a decoy spread set in shallow water. This will help them learn how to swim through the decoys without getting tangled in the lines. If you hunt with motion decoys, incorporate them into your training spread as well.

BOATS The best way to acclimate a pup to watercraft is on dry land, where the boat won’t rock or tip over. Place your retriever in the boat and let her explore this unfamiliar setting. Do this several times over a period of a few days, and when the dog is comfortable in her new surroundings, launch the boat and take your pup on a cruise around the lake. Be sure to go slow and avoid rough waters. Keep the outing as pleasant as possible, with the dog sitting calmly beside you. Allowing them to run around while the boat is under way can be extremely dangerous.

BLINDS
Whether you hunt out of a permanent blind or a layout blind, your retriever should have a place of her own. Set up a dog stand or platform during your training sessions. Begin by teaching the dog to sit still on the stand. The younger the dog, the less patience they will have. But after several training sessions, they should learn to be patient and sit on the stand for extended periods of time.

blind1

Follow our FISHING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

Training Your Retriever

Attach a 6-foot lead or cord to a scent-infused training dummy or the wing of a bird. (Freeze wings during hunting season and thaw them out when ready for training.) Use this to create “drags” of scent the dog will follow.

66

Start with 10-yard straight-line retrieves on short grass. Gradually increase the challenge: curved drag lines, taller grasses, abrupt turns, short gaps in the scent trail by lifting the dummy off the ground for a foot or two.

88

To stay on track, some dogs need reinforcement in the form of small bits of dog treats dropped along the trail. Use treats if you need to keep your dog excited, but sparingly. The point is to find the big payoff at the end of the trail, not the little goodies along the way.

55

Once your dog is trailing enthusiastically, dial up the difficulty. Run the scent trail over a log, make a sharp turn, and drag it along the log as if the wounded bird ran down the log. Run the scent trail in and out of the water along a creek or pond edge. Run it across a creek and continuing on the other side. Create longer and longer gaps.

777

To really hone a dog’s tracking skills, make a dragging pole. This is a particularly good drill for dogs that will hunt in the heavy cover of beaver ponds and thick timber. Cut a piece of PVC pipe about 5 feet long. (The diameter doesn’t matter—use whatever is cluttering up your basement.) Run a 10-foot section of parachute cord or other cordage through the pipe, and tie a slip loop to one end.

Attach the loop to a bird wing or training dummy treated with duck scent. Hold the pipe out from your body, and drag the wing or dummy along a scent trail through yard. The pipe prevents your own foot scent from contaminating the trail.

Follow our FISHING BLOG

WEB   RATES     FISH    HUNT    CABINS    PHOTOS
TESTIMONIALS    BROCHURE    HUNT BOOKLET

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

 

Tags: , , , , , ,

 
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